Kraft: Impossible to measure impact Sabol had on NFL

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Kraft: Impossible to measure impact Sabol had on NFL

Patriots President Robert Kraft released a statement on Monday regarding NFL Films President Steve Sabol, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 69 after battling brain cancer.

Today, the entire National Football League mourns a great loss. It is impossible to measure, or truly comprehend, the impact that Steve Sabol and NFL Films have had in the growth and popularity of the NFL. He was a true visionary. It was Steve and his father, Ed, who first had the idea of recording professional footballs greatest moments and blending them with words of poetry and music. Steve was an artist who loved telling stories about the game of football. As a result, he brought generations of fans closer to the game by exposing them to the sights and sounds in a way that no one else ever has.

As chairman of the broadcast committee, I had the opportunity to work closely with Steve over the years. I know a lot of passionate football fans, but I never met anyone who loved the game more purely, or was more passionate about preserving its history, than Steve was.

The films he created and the highlights he captured were amazing. I still get goose bumps every time I watch one of the Patriots Americas Game series.

He spent his life preserving the legacy of the National Football League and its many legends. In doing so, he became a legend in his own right and leaves a legacy that football fans will enjoy for generations to come.

On behalf of my family and the New England Patriots, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Sabol family and all those who are mourning his loss.

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

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Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."